A couple of decades ago, in most of China (and even still in many parts today) it was often unheard of to keep a pet, much less treat it as if it were your second grandchild. But today, especially in such cosmopolitan cities like Shanghai, people LOVE their pets. China may still have a ways to go before doggy yoga and pet spas are as common as in the US, but they nonetheless still absolutely spoil the bejeezus out of their furry friends. This particularly pertains to dogs, and their owners don’t stop at just showering them with unconditional love. From the hippest young professional to petite old grandmas, you will see them with tiny Chihuahuas and poofy Poodles adorned in sweaters, shoes, glittery collars, and even rain jackets on a drizzly day parading down the sidewalks and through the alleys of Shanghai. More often than not it was adorable, but I would still sometimes stop in my tracks when I saw these frilly outfits being worn by a giant fluffy husky or St. Bernard (yes, I’ve seen them in Shanghai!) and have to ask myself, why!!!!????
One day I decided to pose this question to one of my co-workers. She couldn’t explain things like sweaters and clothes on a pomeranian or schnauzer besides just being fun for the owner (Chinese dog owners often consider their pet as an accessory in addition to, hopefully, a living creature). But she explained that things like shoes and jackets were often for practicality; because the streets of the city are so filthy, the dogs won’t track in the disgusting-ness and dirt from outside, or become soaking wet from a frequent rain shower. This is ironic to me mostly because, in Shanghai at least, the sidewalks are so dirty because a large percentage of dog owners let their furry friends (and often their small children) do their business right in the middle of sidewalk, and then, well, just leave it. Oh well…even though the pet outfits are often ridiculous and unnecessary, they are nonetheless adorable and made me smile on a daily basis.
If you are interested in adopting an animal in Shanghai, please visit SCAA for more info.
This little lady lived in the alley behind my office building. Almost every morning she would be perched on her throne like the Queen of the Alley, guarding passage. She usually gave me the stink-eye whenever I walked by.
Okay, So this dog is not wearing any silly outfit, but this fluffy pup is the co-inhabitant of my favorite SH shop William the Beekeeper, whose owner is also shop owner Cairn Wu Reppun. One of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met!